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[UPDATE] LCSO Surrounds Neighborhood in Leon County

UPDATED 9.24.2010 12:45pm by Julie Montanaro

Pelkey made his first appearance in court Friday morning via video link from the jail.

A judge revoked his bond.
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Updated 6:38pm 9-23

A convicted sex offender barricades himself inside his home in Tallahassee, vowing he'll never go back to prison.

That is exactly where James Pelkey is headed.

The west end of Leon County was swarming with deputies--all coming to one house on Ravensview Drive off of Highway 20--coming to arrest one man on a warrant.

But with all of the heavy artillery surrounding the neighborhood, authorities say it was negotiation that eventually got James Pelkey out with his hands up.

Area resident Sheryl Stout said, "The swat team's there, I'm like oh, my god, something's seriously happened because I don't think all this fuss would be over nothing. So, something seriously must've happened."

What happened was about 40 Leon County Sheriff's Deputies were called to 540 Ravensview Drive off of Highway 20.

Deputies say it started with just two of them serving a search warrant there to James Pelkey around 9:30 Thursday morning.

But. authorities say when Pelkey refused to come out, they called in reinforcement. All westside units showed up, the swat team, the tactical operations team, and the negotiation team.

Lee Norton lives across the street. He said, "It sounds kind of crazy just for a search warrant or bench warrant, whichever, to bring out all of this. This is a waste of a lot of people's money."

Finally, just before 1:00 in the afternoon, deputies say Pelkey surrendered and was arrested without incident.

Authorities say there were no shots fired nor tear gas used.

Theresa Stitley says she's friends Pelkey's girlfriend, Scheri Martin, who was also in the house at the time.

Stitley said, "They stay to themselves, they're nice people. She does wind chimes, she makes her own wind chimes. She has her own business. They're very nice people."

Both Pelkey and his girlfriend are facing charges for resisting arrest and obstruction. Deputies say Martin was harboring Pelkey and not being held hostage in the home.

Here's some background on James Pelkey found in court records in Leon County and the First District Court of Appeals : Pelkey was arrested in November 2007 for sexual battery on a client at his massage parlor. In April 2009 he was convicted and sentenced to ten years in prison. In May of this year, Pelkey was released on what's called a supersedeas bond pending his appeal. In August, the First District Court of Appeals upheld his conviction. And just last week, a judge issued a new warrant for his arrest.

The woman who prosecuted Pelkey says Thursday's standoff could have been prevented if the law stopped allowing people to post bond after they've been found guilty.

Prosecutor Georgia Cappleman said, "When the appeals court finds that the state did everything right, the judge did everything right and the appeal is denied, now we've got to go out and hunt this guy and he could potentially become a danger to the community, which he did in this case."

Cappleman considers these post-conviciton bonds especially risky. "Once a person is convicted by a jury of their peers and sentenced to, in this case, ten years in prison, they have a bigger motivation in my opinion, to maybe not go willingly when the police come to get them and take them to serve their sentence."

With his appeal denied, Pelkey will now go back to prison to finish serving that ten year sentence for sexual battery, and possibly more time for what happened Thursday.

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[UPDATE] (9-23 1:30PM) --

Officials say the suspect who barricaded himself in a home off Highway 20 has been taken into custody. The suspect, James Pelkey, was taken into custody by LCSO.

According to the State Attorney's Office, James Pelkey is a convicted sex offender whose appeal had just been denied last week.

Stay with WCTV for more details.

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[UPDATE] (9-23 12:51PM) --

A spokesperson with LCSO confirmed that a man has barricaded himself in a home on Ravensview Drive. LCSO was serving a warrant, but the man said he wouldn't come out because he didn't want to go back to jail. LCSO SWAT has surrounded the building.

Stay with WCTV for more details.

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[UPDATE] (9-23 12:05PM) --

Law officers are called to a scene off a busy highway in western Leon county, but just what is happening is still a mystery at this point.

Several deputy cars have pulled off into a neighborhood off of Highway 20. Authorities have Ravensview Drive and Big Richard Road blocked off right now, but it appears like all of the action is on Ravensview.

Lanetra Bennett with Eyewitness News has been on the scene for about an hour, but deputies have not given any information as to what is going on.

A truck labeled Hostage Negotiation Team drove up to the area around 11:30, and the Mobile Tactical Operations Center pulled in soon after that. There's an ambulance and fire truck sitting on the side of Highway 20 that appeared to be on standby.

Stay with WCTV for the latest.

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The Leon County Sheriff's Office has several deputies and squad cars on Ravensview Drive off of Blountstown Highway. The deputies have surrounded the neighborhood and have asked our reporters to stay clear of the building they have surrounded. We have no further details at this time.

WCTV has a crew on the scene. We will be bring you details as we receive them.

Stay tuned with Eyewitness news at noon and WCTV.tv


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